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The best H1 bulbs for your car

• H1 bulbs for headlights or fog lights
• Direct replacements
• Option to upgrade to more brightness and whiter light

Written by Alex Boyd Published: 18 January 2024 Updated: 1 February 2024

H1 Bulbs were one of the first halogen automotive bulbs introduced in the early 1960s, bringing a quite noticeable improvement to automotive lighting as it was more efficient and emitted a much brighter light than its incandescent predecessors. The compact size and powerful output made it ideal for use in car headlamps, and it quickly became popular in automotive use throughout Europe.

While the H1 bulb is mainly used in headlights, its focused beam and high brightness make it ideal for use in fog lamps and even in some emergency vehicle lights. It’s been a mainstay of vehicle lighting for some 50 years now, providing reliable performance at a relatively inexpensive cost, but inevitably, technology is catching up with the introduction of HID (or Xenon) and LED lights, which provide better illumination, greater design flexibility and are more efficient. At the moment, HID and LED lights are mainly fitted to higher-end vehicles.

Best H1 Bulbs at a glance:

Editor’s choice: Osram Night Breaker Laser – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best for budget: 10 Pack Eurolec H1 Halogen Bulbs – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best for long lifespan: Philips LongLife EcoVision H1 – Buy now from Amazon UK

There are still many vehicles on the road today which use H1 bulbs. There will still be a market for these things for some considerable time to come as older vehicles with halogen lights remain in use and newer vehicles with a specific need for the properties of the H1 bulb continue to be manufactured. So, let’s take a look at some of the best available.

The best H1 bulbs

Make sure you order the correct bulbs for your vehicle by inputting your registration number into the Amazon Garage.

Pros

  • Great choice of bulbs
  • Easy to select the correct bulbs for your car

Cons

  • May need Amazon Prime for free delivery
Editor's choice
Price: £18.39
With the Osram Night Breaker, you get a road beam of up to 150m long with some good additional side vision. The colour temperature is 3500K, so they provide a more contemporary, whiter light than standard halogen bulbs. There is a slight downside to this, though - the brighter output may come at the expense of longevity, which could be an issue if the headlamp bulbs in your vehicle are difficult to replace; however, if you have easy access, you may be willing to make that call.

Pros

  • Long beam
  • Whiter light

Cons

  • Lifespan may not be as long as less powerful bulbs

Best for improved brightness
Price: £16.93
The Philips WhiteVision Ultra has an even higher colour temperature than the Osram Nightbreaker, with an output of up to 4200K, giving a more contemporary white light. These bulbs don't provide the same output intensity as HID or LED bulbs but they do score over the majority of basic OEM standard bulbs. Once again, the higher output may have a slight effect on the longevity of the bulbs.

Pros

  • Contemporary look
  • Brighter light

Cons

  • Still not at HID levels yet

Best for budget
Price: £13.99
These bulbs are a direct replacement for the majority of factory-fitted H1 bulbs. The pack of ten offers excellent value, meaning each bulb actually costs less than £1.50. Whether being fitted to head or fog lamps, they will give a good performance but there is no real upgrade or improvement on the illumination from OEM bulbs. If you mainly drive in well-lit urban environments, these could be your perfect budget choice.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Multi-pack

Cons

  • At the price, none really
Best for lifespan
Price: £11.17
Changing a headlamp bulb in some of today's cars can be a complete nightmare, involving the removal of various bits of trim or even bodywork. If you are in that position and looking at bulbs that will reduce the incidence of failure, meaning you need to replace them less frequently, then the Philips LongLife EcoVision H1 bulb could be one to consider. The Philips UV Block Quartz Glass technology gives regular halogen brightness but will last up to four times longer.

Pros

  • Long lifespan
  • Good value

Cons

  • No real increase in brightness
Best contemorary look
Price: £11.26
If you want to improve the brightness of your headlamps and give them that contemporary blue tinge without upgrading to Xenon bulbs, the Osram Cool Blue Intense might just fit the bill. The colour temperature of these lamps is up at 5000K, which takes you away from a yellowish light to give a crisp, cool white output. For the price, it's a reasonably inexpensive way of giving your car a contemporary look.

Pros

  • Crisp, white light
  • ContImproved brightness

Cons

  • Still not as bright as Xenon or LED

Some frequently asked questions:

What is the average lifespan of an H1 bulb?

Halogen bulbs will generally last between 500 and 1,000 hours, depending on the bulb type and its use. The more frequently the headlights are used, the shorter the lifespan. Higher-quality bulbs tend to last longer than cheaper alternatives, and extreme temperatures, vibrations, and rough driving conditions can also affect the bulb’s lifespan.

Are there different types of H1 bulbs?

While standard H1 bulbs are the most common, there are various options available:
Long-life bulbs: These offer extended lifespans compared to standard H1 bulbs.
Performance bulbs: These boast increased brightness and whiter light output for enhanced visibility.
Coloured bulbs: For aesthetic purposes, some coloured H1 bulbs are available, but they may not be legal for road use in all regions

Can I upgrade my H1 bulbs to LEDs?

Upgrading from H1 halogen bulbs to LEDs is technically possible, but it’s not always recommended. Some factors to consider:
Compatibility: Ensure the LED fits the H1 socket and housing dimensions.
Performance: Some LEDs might not offer the same beam pattern or brightness as H1 bulbs, potentially affecting visibility.
Legality: It’s often the case that upgrading to LED bulbs isn’t legal in the UK. It’s worth reading the official guidance on aftermarket upgrades on the GOV.UK website.

Will halogen bulbs be replaced by newer technology?

With the growing popularity of HID (or Xenon) bulbs and LED technology, H1s are gradually being phased out, especially in newer car models. However, due to their affordability, ease of replacement, and suitability for older vehicles, H1 bulbs will likely remain relevant for some time.

Alex Boyd is a Commercial Content Writer at Bauer Media writing for Parker’s and CAR, and loves travel, gardening, DIY and music.

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